Pi­o­neer of post­mod­ernism Robert Ven­turi dies at 93

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Pritzker Prize-win­ning Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect Robert Ven­turi, who lead the post­mod­ern move­ment with wife and part­ner Denise Scott Brown, passed away on 18 Septem­ber 2018, fol­low­ing a brief ill­ness. He was 93. Born in 1925 in Philadel­phia, Ven­turi stud­ied at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity and then went on to work with the of­fices of Eero Saari­nen and Louis Kahn. He was on the fac­ulty at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, and later also taught at Yale and Har­vard. Ven­turi wrote sev­eral sem­i­nal texts in­clud­ing Com­plex­ity and Con­tra­dic­tion in Ar­chi­tec­ture, and Learn­ing from Las Ve­gas — which he co-au­thored with Scott Brown. These publi­ca­tions played an in­stru­men­tal role in chal­leng­ing nu­mer­ous prin­ci­ples of mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture, con­se­quently lead­ing to the dawn of the post­mod­ern era in the sec­ond half of the 20th cen­tury. With Scott Brown, he founded and ran the firm Ven­turi Scott Brown Ar­chi­tects (VSBA). Some of the well known build­ings he de­signed in­clude the Vanna Ven­turi House built for his mother in Philadel­phia in 1964; the rather play­ful-look­ing Chil­dren’s Mu­seum in Hous­ton in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Jack­son and Rhys Ar­chi­tects; the Guild House in Philadel­phia to house low-in­come se­nior cit­i­zens; and a fire sta­tion in Colum­bus, In­di­ana, among oth­ers. With Scott Brown, he de­signed their own whim­si­cal ver­sions of fur­ni­ture such as the Queen Anne chair and the Chip­pen­dale chair. In 1991, Ven­turi was awarded the Pritzker Prize, and later, in 2016, along with Scott Brown, jointly re­ceived the Gold Medal from the Amer­i­can In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects (AIA).

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